Troy Murray, who spent 12 years of a 15-year career with the Blackhawks and now is the team's color analyst on WGN 720-AM, offers his perspective on the Blackhawks-Flames series as the teams prepare for Game 5.
Q: What's the deal with the team scoring first losing in all four games?
Murray: I don't know (laughs). It goes against all odds. To have a pattern like this is pretty incredible. The one thing is the visiting team has scored the first goal; if the home team scores first in their own building, they might be able to generate more energy and continue their push.
Q: Might the Hawks get in the trap of thinking that just because they're home for Game 5 that they should have an easier time than they did in Calgary?
Murray: That's dangerous. You can certainly use that as an advantage, but they have to do something on the ice to spark that. If they think they're going to win because they're coming home - it's not going to happen like that. Calgary is going to come out with their best game, and the Blackhawks need to come with their best energy.
Q: There are a couple of banged-up teams battling it out here, aren't there?
Murray: That's the way it's supposed to be in playoff hockey. It really goes back to the story told about the Edmonton Oilers, when they were playing the New York Islanders in the early 1980s. They were in New York playing the Islanders in the Stanley Cup Finals. After the series was won by New York, the Edmonton players walked by the Islanders locker room and New York players were sitting there with black eyes, ice bags, stitches and stuff. The Oilers looked around and didn't see that on their team. The next year when the Oilers won the Cup, they were the team with black eyes and ice packs.
Q: Some people have been tough on goalie Nikolai Khabibulin concerning his play in Calgary. What are your thoughts?
Murray: I thought both goaltenders in Chicago were great. Their performance in Calgary was less than it was in Chicago, but there were reasons for that. Both are veteran goalies, so with a couple of days off, I expect them to get back in the mode they were in the first couple of games.
Q: Should the Blackhawks be excited about battling back from a 3-goal deficit in Game 4 or should they be disappointed that they eventually dropped the game?
Murray: The whole series has been full of ebbs and flows and momentum swings. It's been incredible. It's like which team for Calgary is the real team? And same thing for the Blackhawks. There's been a completely different feel for every game in the series.
Mike Spellman interviews Troy Murray before each playoff game. Murray is in his sixth season as color analyst for Blackhawks radio broadcasts on WGN 720-AM.